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ROL holds AGM

By Chris Williams. Published: 5th Nov 2004, 00:27:23 | Permalink | Printable

Aw, no invite

RISCOS Ltd. logoRISCOS Ltd. has yesterday held its annual general meeting. In previous years, the AGMs have been open meetings with all users invited to attend, although Thursday's event was a more private affair.

Many well known figures within the RISC OS market are company shareholders, each representing the interests of various quarters of the platform, and the ROL shareholders last met in private session during the height of the Castle-RISCOS Ltd. feud. Topics up for discussion this week perhaps included how to proceed under the recently signed RISC OS 4 licence, the issue of merging RISC OS and the announcement of the A9 and Adjust32.

The precedent of Adjust32 running on ARM9 is interesting right now, because Intel are developing a new family of processors for consumer electronics and seemingly relegating the ARM compatible XScale to wireless and networking kit. It'll be reassuring to find out exactly which markets RISC OS will be hopefully heading towards, especially with current rumours of future ARM9 cores exceeding 1GHz.

On the subject of the OS merger, ROL's managing director Paul Middleton reportedly told South East show punters that development of the 26bit RISC OS 4 will cease within the next two years, giving way to the 32bit Select32. EAUG secretary Frank Watkinson noted after the Guildford event, "Subscribers to the Select scheme can choose to support the 'old' scheme or the new Select32, or both. The price for the Select32 is the same as for the original Select scheme and you can simply transfer from the old to the new. If you wish to support both, it will cost you an extra £15."

The release of Select32 is pencilled in for sometime around mid-2005, and earlier this year, we learnt that ROL are hoping to raise further capital after its AGM to fund future developments. They also bought riscosdevelopments.com at the end of October, as per the impending company name change.


RISCOS Ltd. website

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But in the article it says that the new Intel chips will be IA32 based.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 5/11/04 5:44AM
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Hi Julian,

and what does "IA32" based mean?

 is a RISC OS Usermaikl on 5/11/04 8:43AM
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maikl: It means that these chips do not use the ARM instruction set but the "industry standard" x86 instruction set, in other words, they are completely unsuitable for RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 5/11/04 9:00AM
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JGZimmerle: I think that's the point drobe were making in the article - it's a good thing that RISC OS is moving to ARM9 because XScale might not have much future as a processor for PCs.

 is a RISC OS Userjohnpettigrew on 5/11/04 9:12AM
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Then your Risc os machine will be once again INTEL-OUTSIDE :tongue:

 is a RISC OS Useregel on 5/11/04 9:44AM
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johnpettigrew: Frankly, the ARM isn't suitable for using in PCs these days, either. It's just there's so much choice, you can normally find one that's easy to bodge into one. Although your performance will still suck, of course.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 5/11/04 11:52AM
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John.P and Martin.W are right; that's the point I was trying to make. As Intel are working on a family of CPUs that use IA32 (aka x86), and making them suitable for consumer device use, it's been suggested that this move will marginalise the XScale to just mobile and other specialist focused devices - but if that's where ROS is heading, then it's ok. I'm not sure where ROS is heading, though.

I could be wrong, so feel free to correct me, if so. I'll be interested to hear.


 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 5/11/04 11:55AM
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nunfetishist, What about ARM chips is it that makes them so unsuitable for personal computers?

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 5/11/04 2:08PM
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The lack of a floating point co-processor for starters.

 is a RISC OS Userjeffd on 5/11/04 3:09PM
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Floating point is almost completely irrelevant for general day-to-day use of a personal computer. Just how much FP does it need to read email, use a word processor or browse a few websites? Even when using a spreadsheet, the sort of small spreadsheets created by most home users will not put a strain on the FPemulator (and if you're calculating anything financial, you really want it to be fixed point). The main problem with ARMs for personal computers is that no one is targetting them at that market, so they aren't being made for raw throughput - i.e. no one is going to make a 3GHz ARM with a 500MHz 256bit bus :-( Although we can always dream :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhelpful on 5/11/04 6:03PM
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I actually do hope Intel keep their xScale in the Wireless, network, mass storage controller space - because (guess what) they often are specced higher than common or garden ARM processors that are used in PDA's and the like.

The xScale used in the Iyonix (the IOP321) is an Input/Output processor - so actually has rather better PCI support, support for a range of interfaces and functionality that no self respecting PDA driving ARM would require. The successor to the IOP321 - the 332 (covered previously by Drobe) has a lot of bells and whistles that a typical PDA wouldn't have (or need) - such as 800MHz clock rate, support for faster PCI variants with a PCI-Express to PCI-X bridge, faster memory with DDR2 support (even ECC/Error Correction) and an improved interrupt controller.

By contrast the ARM9 is anemic, probably hitting around the performance level of a StrongARM (ah back to 1995 again - wonderful). Intel currently *do* actually produce and release the fastest ARM processors *and* the fact these processors are intended for high speed coms/networking or mass storage should be seen as a big PLUS because the performance demanded of them (and acchieved by them) is somewhat better than StrongARM, ARM9 or other PDA drivers. The IOP range have more relaxed power budgets (they don't have to be battery powered), they do communicate with faster devices than a PDA would ever need to so the interfaces provided are more in line with what one would expect of a desktop processor (or as close to one as we're likely to see in ARM format for the foreseeable future).

Given the frugality of RISC OS the performance the user experiences often exceeds what the raw MHz figure would suggest. Yes these (IOP) processors are not targetted at the home market - but do they need to be if (after all) the role as I/O processors become more demanding to the point where these ARM's become virtually desktop processors in all but name ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/11/04 7:01PM
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Floating point hardware is really pretty useful if you want to be able to do things like advanced graphics. I'd really like FP so a decent OpenGL could be supported on my Iyo so that I could have some hope of running OpenCroquet on iyt instead of having to use my pMac. If you don't know what OpenCroquet is, go to www.opencroquet.org and download it. If you have a modern windows or mac machine that is. The annoying thing is that Squeak, the basis for croquet, runs fine on Iyos. Just that OpenGL stuff to go...

 is a RISC OS Userrowledge on 5/11/04 8:29PM
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